I am a woman with Asperger's Syndrome - Sensitivities

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Clothes

For as long as I can remember I have had a problem with clothes. I have always tried to fit in, so growing up in the 80's where everyone was wearing skinny, tight jeans wasn't very easy for me. I did it though, to try to fit in.

People of all ages on the spectrum have major sensitivities to numerous things. Clothes are just one of them. Certain fabrics are usually avoided, they can't be too tight, sometimes even special socks are needed, or no socks at all!

For me, I need to be able to breath in my clothes, and to move around freely. I can't "do" tight, but I do wear jeans, they just need to be extremely stretchy or loose. I, as well as many others on the spectrum, find something that they are very comfortable in and don't feel the need to change, for quite a while! For me it's scary thinking about changing into something else, because that something else isn't going to be as comfortable as what I am currently wearing. Transitioning into a new outfit is hard.

Also I like to stick to the same colors, no major patterns or polka dots/stripes! Dark colors usually. And the same "style" if I even have a style.... I like to look the same I guess, day after day.

Socks can be a big issue, if you cannot line up that toe seam just perfectly. Sometimes it is just easier to avoid socks at all costs!

And then of course tags.. I don't know anyone on the spectrum who is not bothered by tags. Mine are all cut off as much as possible without putting a hole into my piece of clothing. Any tag or piece of fabric that is scraping against me, even just the slightest, will drive me insane.


Heat/Cold

I have different reactions to heat and cold. Honestly I'd rather be freezing I guess. Too much heat, like jumping into a shower that is too hot, will make me physically ill, and FAST! Too much cold and I will be angry, my mood just goes downhill. I will also have a very hard time trying to warm back up.

I cannot take baths because of the moving water around me, I can barely take a swim anymore either. I get nauseous very quickly. If I am in a bath and the water is too hot I will be sick to my stomach. I mainly have to take lukewarm showers, and quick ones at that.

I know of many people that have issues with heat and cold on the spectrum. It is like our bodies just cannot regulate properly. It is easy for us to overheat, and/or freeze!

Medications

This is also something that most people on the spectrum have to deal with. We cannot seem to be able to take the required dose of medications. We get side effects more so than the average person.

For me, if I need to take something new, I will refuse capsules because I need something I can break down so I can take it piece by piece. I will always start with a small piece and wait a bit to see what kind of reaction I will have!

Noise

No body likes too much noise! But for people on the spectrum too much noise could lead to a meltdown. Perhaps falling down in tears covering your ears, or maybe having a fit of rage! Covering your ears of course.

Too much noise is over stimulating. We cannot concentrate, or think. We can easily become overwhelmed. What happens to me is I will start to feel a lot of pressure in my head, like it may explode, my eye's might even shake a bit, and my mood will start to go downhill.

We just need to escape for a bit and find a quiet place to go, with absolutely no interruptions to be able to de-stress. It's really the only way I will be able to calm down. I think all aspie's benefit from a good "time out" here and there!

Oh that bright sun....!

A lot of people on the spectrum have an issue with that big bright light in the sky!! And also certain types of indoor lighting.

My eyes are quite sensitive outside when it is sunny, my forehead will hurt and it takes my eyes a while to adjust. Also going out in the winter when the sun is shining on the snow is a killer!

Some people are sensitive to some indoor lights. My eyesight seems fine with bright lights, but it's the noise or "hum" that some lights give off that gets to me!

Overly emotional

Saying overly emotional just doesn't quite seem to say what I am trying to say. Our emotions are like a ticking time bomb. If someone says one wrong thing to us it could feel like the end of the world. Or maybe if we were expecting something to happen and it doesn't, it's ALL over!

My family would say to me they had to "walk on eggshells" around me when I was growing up. One false move and I would explode.

Trying to separate our thoughts from our emotions is very difficult for us. And sometimes trying to turn off a certain emotion can feel impossible. We feel emotions stronger and for longer periods of time.

But!...

We also have the capability of turning off our emotions completely in extremely stressful situations. Sometimes we just don't know how to feel! We are confused. We freeze up.

Sometimes we come off as not even having emotions, which is crazy to think about because we feel so much inside, it just can't find it's way out properly..or at all.

We feel, OH we feel! Too much sometimes, and we don't know how to handle it. Too many strong emotions usually leads to a meltdown, and for me it's selective mutism. If there is too much going on within me I have to shut myself down. I will not talk, I will retreat to my bedroom, I just need silence and to try and figure out what is going on inside of me.

If we could think logically when we are overly emotional we could probably solve the problem at hand a lot quicker. But I do not think we are able to think logically when we are in that sort of state, our emotions take over and it is not possible to think logically.

A good time out, and maybe talking with a really close friend/family member helps this situation a lot!

Touching....ouch

Does touching really hurt? It CAN! For someone on the spectrum that is! We don't always want to be touched, and usually need to know when it is coming, and in what form. A hug? A hand shake? A slight touch on the arm? We would really like to prepare for it, but we all know that is not possible all the time..

I avoid touching, it just feels strange to me. Being on a crowded bus sitting between two people squishing you, and then there's people standing in front of you so you can't get up to escape, is pretty much the worst thing ever. I get mixed emotions. I get angry for one. I am angry that these people are invading my space, how dare they! I get upset and scared, I need to escape I must find a way to escape! And I get disgusted. How dare these people who I don't even know touch me and squish into me like this!? I will actually feel sick.

No I don't like a lot of touching, but like other people on the spectrum I "DO" want to be touched by people I am physically attracted to. There needs to be balance however, not too much or I will get overloaded and probably have a meltdown. If I am in love with someone I will want to touch them constantly, it is very tiring though and I will need lots of breaks.

I do have children and do not feel odd touching them. I like to feel close to them.

But hugging family members I may not have seen for a year feels awkward to me, and these are my family members. It's a very strange thing...

I think if you expose yourself to hugs a lot you can try and get use to them. Maybe? :p

Food

I tend to eat the same thing for months, maybe years, without getting bored. Just like my clothes, I don't change what I eat very often either!

Some people on the spectrum like very bland foods, while I am the complete opposite. I need as many different flavors as possible, all at once. If I am having dinner and there are many different things on my plate I mix it all into one huge mountain of food. People think I am disgusting, but for me it's the most pleasurable way to eat food!

I know others don't even allow their different foods to touch on their plate, but not me!

I've probably missed a bunch...

There is no way I can mention everything here, but these are the worst things for me.

Please share your comments, and also the ways you cope when you're in the middle of a sensory overload!

Thanks for reading.

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Comments 1 comment

just helen profile image

just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

I really enjoyed this hub. It is so informative and insightful! I have voted it up!

Your other hubs on Aspergers are all great too. Thank you so much for sharing.

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